\ ˈask How to pronounce ask (audio) , ˈäsk How to pronounce ask (audio) ; dialectal ˈaks \
asked\ ˈas(k)t How to pronounce ask (audio) , ˈäs(k)t , ˈask ; dialectal  ˈakst \; asking

Definition of ask

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to call on for an answer She asked him about his trip.
b : to put a question about asking her opinion
c : speak, utter ask a question
2a : to make a request of She asked her teacher for help.
b : to make a request for She asked help from her teacher.
3 : to call for : require a challenge that will ask much of us
4 : to set as a price asked $3000 for the car
5 : invite She asked a few friends to the party.

intransitive verb

1 : to seek information ask for her address
2 : to make a request asked for food
ask for it
: to behave in a way that invites punishment or retribution Experts used to think that battered women were "asking for it"—somehow masochistically provoking abuse from their men. Mercifully, that idea has now been discredited.— Michele Ingrassia
ask for trouble
: to behave in a way that is likely to result in trouble … you are asking for trouble if you try to lift too much weight …— Douglas Jeffrey



Definition of ask (Entry 2 of 2)

chiefly British, informal
: something asked for, requested, or required of someone used especially in phrases like a big ask and a tough ask to say that what is being asked for or hoped for is difficult or unlikely It's a big ask, I think, demanding audiences recall a plot from two years ago, and while normally I don't mind a big ask … this particular ask utterly defeated me.— Deborah Ross

Other Words from ask


asker noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for ask

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Verb

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Choose the Right Synonym for ask


ask, question, interrogate, query, inquire mean to address a person in order to gain information. ask implies no more than the putting of a question. ask for directions question usually suggests the asking of series of questions. questioned them about every detail of the trip interrogate suggests formal or official systematic questioning. the prosecutor interrogated the witness all day query implies a desire for authoritative information or confirmation. queried a librarian about the book inquire implies a searching for facts or for truth often specifically by asking questions. began to inquire of friends and teachers what career she should pursue

ask, request, solicit mean to seek to obtain by making one's wants known. ask implies no more than the statement of the desire. ask a favor of a friend request implies greater formality and courtesy. requests the pleasure of your company solicit suggests a calling attention to one's wants or desires by public announcement or advertisement. a letter soliciting information

Examples of ask in a Sentence

Verb I need to ask a question. Did you ask her yet? “Have you seen the movie yet?” he asked. a list of frequently asked questions “If you don't mind me asking, how old are you?” “I'm 35 years old. Why do you ask?” “Do they have any soda?” “I don't know. I'll go ask.” I would have given it to him, but he never asked. We had to stop and ask directions. May I ask the time? Did you ask permission to leave? See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The blonde Bachelorette goes on to ask Hayden about everything Meatball told her, and of course Hayden denies it all. Kristen Baldwin,, 2 Aug. 2022 As your employee population evolves, continue to ask them about their changing benefits needs. The Salt Lake Tribune, 1 Aug. 2022 There is still time for disabled voters to ask candidates about their most pressing disability concerns. Andrew Pulrang, Forbes, 31 July 2022 His father, a physicist, took him to the markets on Sundays and showed him how to choose okra one pod at a time, discern regional differences between guavas, and ask farmers about their families and yields. Emily Bobrow, WSJ, 29 July 2022 Health officials ask people who are infected to stay isolated from the time symptoms begin until the rash heals. Shari Rudavsky, The Indianapolis Star, 28 July 2022 Meanwhile, Biden joined Community earlier this month to ask people to share their personal stories about how gun violence has impacted them as part of the White House’s larger outreach initiatives. Fortune, 20 July 2022 Nichols did allow Bannon’s lawyers to ask witnesses about their own biases. Ashraf Khalil,, 20 July 2022 These challenges are layered on top of the existential questions businesses often ask themselves about the future of their industry. New York Times, 20 July 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The infamous suit actor George Clooney wore in the 1997 film Batman & Robin was just listed through Heritage Auctions with an opening ask of $40,000. Demetrius Simms, Robb Report, 7 July 2022 Start with a small ask, recommends Corey Martin, M.D., of the leadership and team-development company Innovations in Resilience. Mike Kessler, Men's Health, 25 May 2022 DoD telling the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense in response to their ask for more trainers? Zachariah Hughes, Anchorage Daily News, 7 May 2022 That is a huge ask, considering the problem under center will remain in place. Steve Silverman, Forbes, 17 Apr. 2022 Managers typically expect a certain level of professionalism, presentation and engagement, so asking employees to do that on their computer isn’t a huge ask. Megan Leonhardt, Fortune, 12 Apr. 2022 The lackluster conservation also puts pressure on the governor to ratchet up his ask of Californians and perhaps edge closer to mandatory statewide water rationing like what enacted during last decade’s five-year dry spell. Kurtis Alexander, San Francisco Chronicle, 15 Mar. 2022 Understanding what each person is getting from your professional relationship and for particular ask is vital. Abdo Riani, Forbes, 11 July 2022 The video has since racked up more than 4.2 million likes and 20.9 million views, with many fans taking to the comments to jokingly call out Schnapp for exposing Doja Cat's ask, and agreeing with her thirst over Quinn. Rachel Desantis,, 7 July 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ask.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of ask


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a


13th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for ask


Middle English, from Old English āscian; akin to Old High German eiscōn to ask, Lithuanian ieškoti to seek, Sanskrit icchati he seeks


noun derivative of ask entry 1

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Time Traveler for ask

Time Traveler

The first known use of ask was before the 12th century

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Dictionary Entries Near ask

as it is



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Last Updated

6 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Ask.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for ask


\ ˈask How to pronounce ask (audio) \
asked; asking

Kids Definition of ask

1 : to seek information by posing a question She asked if I was worried. They asked about our trip.
2 : to make a request Did you ask for help?
3 : to set as a price I'm asking ten dollars for my skates.
4 : invite sense 2 I asked some friends to my party.
5 : to behave as if seeking a result You're asking for trouble.

More from Merriam-Webster on ask

Nglish: Translation of ask for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ask for Arabic Speakers


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